Attitudes toward public transport post Delta COVID-19 lockdowns: Identifying user segments and policies to restore confidence

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, planning - surveys, ridership - attitudes, policy - sustainable


Attitudes during lockdown, case study, cluster analysis, factor analysis, public transport


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the propensity to use public transport, with many countries seeing a decline in patronage to as low as 20% of the pre-pandemic levels. Although public transport use is recovering with 60% of pre-COVID-19 levels being a common statistic, there is a view that it could take many years to fully recover, if at all. This paper presents evidence on societal perceptions and attitudes about the use and return to public transport that was obtained from surveys undertaken during COVID-19 at a period in early 2021 in which there were no lockdowns, and during a subsequent period of varying durations of lockdowns in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area and South East Queensland. Together with views on future plans, this paper offers policy useful evidence on the challenges that the public transport sector currently faces, and is likely to continue to face, in developing a plan to support a return to using the more sustainable mode of public transport, rather than increased use of the private car. The focus of the paper is on an analysis of attitudinal and open-ended qualitative responses using a mixture of descriptive interpretation and analytical methods of factor and cluster analysis to identify the spectrum of attitudes and concerns about using public transport as a way of guiding future messaging.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.